Sewing Machine Runs On Its Own? Here’s Why (Solved)

If you have removed your foot from the pedal, but your sewing machine keeps sewing, don’t panic! Your sewing machine hasn’t come to life. It simply has blown a capacitor. 

You can unplug your machine from the wall for a quick fix, but you will need to address the root of the problem to get back to sewing safely.

If your sewing machine is running on its own, you most likely have a problem with the capacitor in your foot pedal. When the capacitor begins to malfunction, your machine can start running independently.

Removing or replacing the capacitor should help solve this problem. 

Let’s look at this problem more closely and see what you can do to fix it:

1. It’s Time to Remove or Replace the Capacitor 

The capacitor is usually a small silver cylinder and is often located inside your machine’s foot pedal.

Capacitors were essential for older machines since they helped reduce and eliminate electrical interference within the home. 

However, modern technology has surpassed what it was a few decades ago. Our sewing machines are less and less likely to interfere with our TVs or radios, so the need for a capacitor continues to decrease.

For older machines, capacitors were a must. These parts, commonly found in the foot pedal, do have a life span. They will wear out and begin to malfunction over time. 

If you have an older machine, it’s possible that your capacitor has cracked or otherwise become damaged. It can cause the machine to keep running even when you’ve taken your foot off the pedal.

Capacitors usually emit a strong smell or a puff of smoke when they are no longer functioning properly. If you catch a whiff of something unusual, it could signify that your capacitor is in trouble. 

Luckily, addressing the capacitor problem is all you need to do to regain control of your sewing machine. You might remove the capacitor completely or replace it with a new, undamaged one.

Your machine can still function without the capacitor inside, but it might fail to meet standards regarding electrical interference. 

Older sewing machine models were designed with capacitors to meet the standards set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). If you want the machine to continue meeting these electrical standards, you will need to have your ruptured capacitor fully replaced. 

However, removing the capacitor is a good first step that won’t interfere with the functionality of your machine.

You should still be able to use your machine in the meantime while waiting for replacement parts or a more thorough repair. 

Can I Fix the Capacitor Myself?

Even when they are no longer plugged into a power source, Capacitors carry a charge. This can make them tricky and dangerous to work with if you don’t have much electrical experience. 

To be safe, you can bring your machine to a professional. If you leave it to someone with plenty of electrical experience, you can rest assured it will do the job safely and accurately. 

If you are experienced with electrical work and feel confident in removing the capacitor safely without putting yourself in danger, proceed with caution. 

Your machine must be completely unplugged before you proceed. Remember, you will be approaching live wiring within your foot pedal, which can be quite dangerous for a novice. 

2. My Foot Pedal Will Not Stop The Sewing Machine

Because capacitors are often located in the foot pedal, it can seem like your foot pedal is no longer working when the capacitor begins to malfunction. 

When your capacitor is damaged, your foot pedal will not respond to your commands no matter what you do. 

Remember that the problem is not the foot pedal itself but rather that small, cylindrical part inside. Once the capacitor issue is dealt with, your foot pedal should normally be functioning again. 

3. How Can I Stop My Sewing Machine?

Unplugging your machine from the wall will always make it stop running.

If you find yourself face-to-face with a runaway sewing machine, unplugging it from its power source will immediately stop its momentum. 

Most modern sewing machines are powered by electricity, so removing the electrical source will cause the machine to stop. However, this is just an emergency or temporary fix.

If you plug it back into the outlet, it will start running on its own again.

You will need to make a proper repair on your machine for it to stop running on its own. As long as the damaged capacitor is still inside the foot pedal, you will continue to have a machine that appears to be in control of itself.  

Safely removing or replacing your capacitor will stop your sewing machine from acting this way. When you no longer have a faulty capacitor, your sewing machine should be back to normal.

You can bring your machine to your local repair shop to get the job done safely and effectively. 

Final Thoughts

If your sewing machine keeps running even when you take your foot off the pedal, your capacitor has likely ruptured.

When a capacitor inside the foot pedal begins to malfunction, it will need to be removed or replaced for the machine to stop running on its own.

Remember that this is an electrical issue and can be potentially dangerous. Consult with a professional for the safest and best results. 


Singer Featherweight: Why Did My Featherweight Start Sewing By Itself All of a Sudden? 

The Project Lady: How to Repair a Sewing Machine Capacitor

Youtube: Sewing Machine Running By Itself – Singer Foot Controller Fix